FMonster, the monster of sound synth

Discussion about old sound cards, MIDI devices and sound related accessories.

Re: FMonster, the monster of sound synth

Postby eeguru » 2019-8-14 @ 01:30

I recently took detailed measurements from a number of sounds cards to get the WB footprint correct. It seemed like everything was snapped to an imperial grid. I arrived at the same 5050 x 3100 mil hole differences as Tiido with the same 250 mil offset to pin 1. Those translate to the same mm dimensions as above. It was refreshing to convert my part footprint to millimeters and see the same numbers on his drawing. Thanks for that.

It really doesn't matter where you center the WB card itself as long as you have room for the standoffs to land free of traces and the board edges to clear tall components, etc.

I do plan on adding a 10 pin additional header to my footprint to allow for ID of newer WB cards (I2C) and passing of digital audio (I2S) back from the Ext.WB cards to my current sound card project. Of course any older daughter card would still use the legacy 26-pin header. But I am designing a WB daughterboard that will accept a Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 (CM3) to provide MUNT emulation true'r to MT-32 and the like. I figured having a digital audio output option in 2019 would be ideal. Maybe we can all adopt it as a standard? I've also added an intermediate mounting hole so shorter cards (like the CM3 Pi) can have more than one support boss. I thought about adding a support for Dreamblaster X2 proprietary hole, but my card already has one-integrated on-board and I'm running short on PCB space.
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Re: FMonster, the monster of sound synth

Postby Tiido » 2019-8-14 @ 01:43

It is nice to know that someone else landed on same measurements ~

As far as expansions go, I have added SPDIF output to the NC pin between the two GNDs. The other NC could in theory be SPDIF input for the cards that do ADC business like DB60XG. I do like the I2S sound idea, but I'm not super fond of the placement of the header for it though, it is right in the area where I'd put all analog related things and that area is quite premium. There's usually plenty of capacitors etc. in that general area and it will probably collide with them on many cards. Something in line with existing connector is less likely to collide with anything on the host card I imagine.
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Re: FMonster, the monster of sound synth

Postby eeguru » 2019-8-14 @ 01:52

Perhaps we should start a separate thread?

I can handle S/P-DIF output from the WB as well. That might be sufficient. Extending the 26-pins by 4-6 would work too I suppose. I don't have my final board fully layed out yet. But tentatively I was thinking I2C SDA/SCL for an optional eeprom on the daughter board that could carry identification info. My sound card project is just a big FPGA+DSP. So I added I2S and a few dynamically assignable pins based on the eeprom ID. For example, the CM3 Pi WB board could run the console to those pins and the FPGA could enable a UART at a COM[1-4] address to connect to it.

My use-cases are a bit one-off. But having some more options from a connector designed 25 years ago would be nice.
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Re: FMonster, the monster of sound synth

Postby Tiido » 2019-8-14 @ 01:55

As far as identification goes, you could just use MIDI output functionality and issue a special sysex that the WB card will respond to. Less signals needed, perhaps bypassing need for any extra interface at all if SPDIF is sufficient (I don't actually like the format but many things have it...).

Separate thread is best I guess, and these posts could perhaps be moved to the new thread too...
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Re: FMonster, the monster of sound synth

Postby Fagear » 2019-8-14 @ 22:40

Tiido wrote:I have been using these measurements for my WB cards...

eeguru wrote:I recently took detailed measurements from a number of sounds cards to get the WB footprint correct. It seemed like everything was snapped to an imperial grid. I arrived at the same 5050 x 3100 mil hole differences as Tiido with the same 250 mil offset to pin 1. Those translate to the same mm dimensions as above.

Thanks! Those measurements almost match mine (within +/- 0.6 mm error). :cool:
I thought that DB50XG and SCB-55 were a bit wider according to some photos... but I guess those are not.

eeguru wrote:I do plan on adding a 10 pin additional header to my footprint to allow for ID of newer WB cards (I2C) and passing of digital audio (I2S) back from the Ext.WB cards to my current sound card project.

As Tiido said, it probably reasonable to utilize unused pins on WB header and perform synth detection via MIDI means. :confused:
Also, earlier (?) WB boards had components facing soundcard, so those can conflict with additional header.

Creative WaveBlaster (CT1900).jpg
Creative WaveBlaster (CT1900)
Creative WaveBlaster II (CT1910).jpg
Creative WaveBlaster II (CT1910)
Orchid Wave Booster 4FX.jpg
Orchid Wave Booster 4FX

eeguru wrote:I figured having a digital audio output option in 2019 would be ideal. Maybe we can all adopt it as a standard?

For me there is no reason to do it (for this project). Almost all blocks on FMonster output analog audio, only OPL2 and OPL3 use digital output, but it is not some S/PDIF or I2S, those require proprietary DACs. So my board has no use for I2S data unless I'll put a DAC on it.

"2nd stage" started to get shape...
monster_option_2019-08-15.png
FMonster "2nd stage" @2019-08-15
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Re: FMonster, the monster of sound synth

Postby Fagear » 2019-8-18 @ 17:17

Thinking about usability...
There will be a separate manual supplied for configuring the board. But there will be the moment, when the FMonster board will be without manual somewhere.
So, I think, there should be brief manual on the board itself.

I've updated my project and I need some feedback.

fmonster_2019-08-18.png
FMonster @2019-08-18

Is anything understandable? Where confusions are? :confused:
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Re: FMonster, the monster of sound synth

Postby root42 » 2019-8-18 @ 18:26

That looks crazy. It will never work. :-D

One question regarding OPL2: Will it always listen on 388h, for AdLib compatibility? Even when jumpered for 220h/222h?
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Re: FMonster, the monster of sound synth

Postby Fagear » 2019-8-18 @ 18:51

root42 wrote:That looks crazy. It will never work. :-D

Maybe. :lol:

root42 wrote:One question regarding OPL2: Will it always listen on 388h, for AdLib compatibility? Even when jumpered for 220h/222h?

By default you select either OPL2 will listen to 388h or 220h or any other port.
Probably I can add some "schematic OR" for this, so if you'll install jumper both on 220h and 388h it will listen to both addresses and not burn out outputs of 74HC138. :confused:
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Re: FMonster, the monster of sound synth

Postby jaZz_KCS » 2019-8-18 @ 19:02

Fagear wrote:I've updated my project and I need some feedback.

fmonster_2019-08-18.png




You(r) Monster!
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Re: FMonster, the monster of sound synth

Postby root42 » 2019-8-19 @ 10:07

Fagear wrote:
root42 wrote:One question regarding OPL2: Will it always listen on 388h, for AdLib compatibility? Even when jumpered for 220h/222h?

By default you select either OPL2 will listen to 388h or 220h or any other port.
Probably I can add some "schematic OR" for this, so if you'll install jumper both on 220h and 388h it will listen to both addresses and not burn out outputs of 74HC138. :confused:


Still not following... The original Sound Blaster listens on 388h always, in addition to whatever port you chose. Does the FMonster do the same? Software for Adlib will write to 388h, whereas Blaster software will use whatever BLASTER environment or auto detect tells it to do.
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Re: FMonster, the monster of sound synth

Postby Scali » 2019-8-19 @ 10:31

root42 wrote:Still not following... The original Sound Blaster listens on 388h always, in addition to whatever port you chose. Does the FMonster do the same? Software for Adlib will write to 388h, whereas Blaster software will use whatever BLASTER environment or auto detect tells it to do.


I think the idea is to choose whether the OPL2 or the OPL3 should be listening to 388h for AdLib compatibility?
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